Oldest dog portrait?
January 20, 2018 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I recently saw Gerrit Dou's Dog at Rest at the MFA, to which it's been pledged. (It was charming watching people's faces light up as they noticed the piece walking through the room.) It struck me that it was the oldest (1650) "portrait" of a dog I was aware of.

Of course, dogs appear in earlier landscapes, and as companions in portraits that are of humans (or, at least, so the humans think). But I couldn't think of an earlier painting in which the dog is clearly the subject. Is anyone familiar with an earlier one? If so, please post a link to the good boy/girl!

N.B.: I know that free-standing statuary of dogs and use of dogs as a decorative motif on architecture, vases, sculpture, etc. goes back literally thousands of years. I'm talking about paintings, and the equivalent of portraits specifically.
posted by praemunire to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

Two Hunting Dogs 1548
posted by bq at 6:05 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

A Hunter And Dogs Pursuing A Hare
posted by bq at 6:23 PM on January 20

Two Salukis, Zhu Zhanji (the Xuande Emperor), around 1427-1428. It's not an oil painting, of course, but it definitely seems like a painting specifically of these two dogs and not just an incidental appearance.

There may be even earlier ones from China, but I happened to be familiar with that one.
posted by wintersweet at 6:32 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

If mosaics are OK, then this one from ca. 150 AD, perhaps?

Taken from this Ancient Art podcast transcription, which you may appreciate.

team vertragi
posted by vers at 7:48 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Awww, excellent doggos all. Bq, even though it doesn't quite fit my category, I was especially glad to be reminded of that charming mosaic, which I'd seen before but forgotten about.
posted by praemunire at 7:48 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

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